Ohhhh boy lol

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This post is sponsored by:


Posted in Paid Posts | No Comments » Posted by: Chris Lodge
More New Blogs

I have three more new blogs to read in response to my request for New Blogs Please!

    TimeForBlogging - Articles on blogging, website tips, eCommerce and more, there’s plenty to read on Josh’s blog. His First Rule Of Blogging is one every serious blogger should take notice of.
    Mapelli.info - Another blogging tips blog, with some excellent tips from Francisco. I’ve never been a fan of using post excerpts on the homepage, but he’s almost convinced me. I can feel a poll coming up.
    ShanKri-La - Tech, blogging and web are featured here (3 of my favourite subjects!), and there’s some really useful tips like how to Remember The Milk which is something I intend to look into further-I certainly need something like this!

Three good blogs there, that I’ve subscribed to, and look forward to reading further. If you’ve got any more suggestions for me, and feel free to promote your own, then tell me why I should check it out in the comments below.

Posted in General | 7 Comments » Posted by: Chris Lodge
The Technorati Experiment - Update

I think I’m pretty much up to date with returning the ‘Favoriting’ offered by my post on the Technorati experiment. If you have favorited me, I should have returned the favour, and likewise if you linked to my post, I should have linked you back - if I’ve missed you out, don’t be shy, leave me a comment in this post, and I’ll rectify the omission.

If you’d like to take part, simply click Add to Technorati Favorites and add Blog-Op, then leave me a comment at the original post.

Is it worth you doing it? Well both this and the Z-List experiment came to me from Maki at Dosh-Dosh, and the results speak for themselves:

In less than a week, Blog-Op has gone from being Favorited by 21 to 63 blogs, and the Z-list took me from being linked to by 35 blogs to 258, and while some of those additional links weren’t related to the experiments, the majority certainly were.

So yes, I’d say it’s worth a try!

Posted in SEO | 5 Comments » Posted by: Chris Lodge
Professional Web Design [P]

This post has been sponsored by 352media.com.

If you’re looking for an award winning professional web design company for your next project you may want to check out 352 Media Group. Since 1997, they have been making a name for themselves in Atlanta web development and now boast offices in New York, Seattle, LA and beyond.

Their staff of nearly 50 people now are specialists in various fields, such as ASP.NET, application development, Flash animation, site design and e-commerce. As is to be expected, their website is extremely polished and offers a wealth of information on the services offered and the background of the company, often presented by a member of the team in a video playing in the header of the page. With over 40 ‘Addy’ awards for advertising under their belt as further proof of their achievements and peer esteem, 352 media is a company worth checking out.

Posted in Paid Posts | No Comments » Posted by: Chris Lodge
Bannage - Ban The Trolls

Thankfully in six months of blogging, I’ve never suffered a troll infestation. Plenty of spam yes, but Akismet & Bad Behavior have taken care of that.

Unfortunately sad, lonely trolls are an unfortunate fact of life, and up until now, apart from deleting their comments (which you should without a moments hesitation) there’s not been much you can do. But if you’re suffering from an infestation, it may be worth giving the Bannage plugin a try.

You can ban commentators by IP, URL, email or username, and wildcards are supported. You should obviously be very careful with wildcards and IP’s as you could end up banning thousands of potential visitors if you get too zealous!

I have installed it on Blog-Op without apparent ill-effect, so now I just need a Troll to try it on….. Hmm, who’s the Top Commentator? :twisted:

Posted in Blog Improvement, Quick Tips | 4 Comments » Posted by: Chris Lodge
Getting Going With Wordpress

I’ve noticed a lot of my regular reads making the switch to Wordpress recently, and have indeed helped a few to get started which is great.

Therefore I thought it might be useful to link up to a few useful resources for the new Wordpress user. First, some of my posts:

    Google Sitemaps - The easiest way is to use the plugin described here. Get indexed by Google faster.
    How to Upgrade Your Wordpress blog - This is the manual way to do it. If your host offers ‘Fantastico’ then it only takes one click!
    How To Install Filezilla-& why - How to use an FTP program to upload plugins and themes to your blog.
    Favourite Wordpress Plugins -Part 1 and Part 2 - Some of my favourite plugins to enhance your WP blog.
    How to do a 301 re-direct and why. - Don’t dilute your pagerank!
    Make simple format changes with CSS - Make colour changes to your template and more.
    The Related Posts plugin - How to install this very useful plugin.
    Time Stamping - Post backwards and forwards in time….

Moving away from my blog, there are obviously loads of hints & tips out there. One of the best sources of WordPress info is Lorelle, and some good ones from her include:

    Getting Started With WordPress
    WordPress Plugins Series
    Blog Design - How many columns?

Some other quick links:

Blogging Pro: Just about everything WordPress.

Weblog Tools Collection: A link from your WP dashboard (which probably means you just ignore it) but absolutely full of new themes, plugins and all the latest WP news.

PhotoMatt: The man who started it all :-)

I hope this post proves useful to the new WordPress user, but if you need more assistance just let me know :-)

WordPress Permalinks - A Quick Tip

I have seen this on a lot of blogs recently, so I think this tip is worth sharing: In WordPress, each post actually exists for Search Engine purposes as a single page. This page has it’s own name which is indexed by Google and the others.

Now you would think this page name would be set to something sensible like the name of the post? No, actually the default is something like:


Very snappy, but useless for search engines. But very easily fixed.

In your WP admin, go to ‘Options’ then ‘Permalinks’. Select ‘Custom’ and then copy and paste this into the box:


Then click ‘Update Permalink Structure’. Now your post will be indexed according to the post name, so if you like Google traffic, make it something good! ;-)

NB: If you get the message about your .htaccess file not being writeable, don’t panic. Fire up your FTP program, and find the .htaccess file in your root blog directory. Right click on it and set it’s permissions to 777. Go back to WP admin, update the permalinks as above, then return to your FTP, and re-set the permissions to 644 or whatever it was before.

NB2: The above is intended for very new WordPress users who have little or no posts, and aren’t worried about losing links. If you have an established blog, you risk losing a lot of Google ‘juice’ as many internal and external links will be broken. Fortunately the solution appears to be quite straightforward: Use the Permalinks Migration Plugin. Please note I haven’t tried this, as I changed my permalinks very early on, but it should do the trick.

Thanks to Vinod for raising this issue.

Why Use RSS?

This video is everywhere right now, and rightly so. If you haven’t seen it yet, please spare 3 minutes to watch a very informative and extremely simple clip on why reading via RSS makes so much sense.

Now you can see the benefit, why not read Blog-Op by RSS? Grab your reader and then either click my green icon on the top right, or just click here for my feed.

Thanks to David & ShanKri-La for bringing this to my attention - Don’t forget to grab their feeds too!

Lowest Bid Wins [P]

Those of you who like a little gamble should enjoy this site: bid4prizes. Quite simply, they have a range of really cool stuff to be won, and all you have to do is make the lowest unique bid. Not as easy as it sounds, as a lot of people are going to go in at $0.01 etc. but there’s definitely bargains to be had, all you would pay if you win is shipping.

Currently up for bidding is a Samsung 50? plasma TV which I would be rather happy with, although it would probably be too big for my room! Perhaps I would have to offer it as a prize in a blog competition? Hmm, maybe not ;-)

You enter by texting from your cell phone, and unsurprisingly can bid as much as you like, so if you fancy a bid, check it out.

Random Redirect Plugin

If you’re a fan of StumbleUpon (and you should be), then you might like this plugin for your WordPress blog: Random Redirect.

Very easy to install, just upload, activate and then give your readers a link to a url like this one: http://blog-op.com/?random

Obviously replace my URL with your own and you’re off and running. I’ve linked mine up to a button on the top right of my blog, so if you fancy viewing some of my random posts, click away.

Via TechCrunch

The Top 10 Blogs - Who Cares?

A bit harsh maybe, but there’s a valid point in there somewhere, let me see if I can dig it out.

I was just having a look through Technorati, and came across the Top 100 blogs ranked according to incoming links, and though I’d see which ones I read. It struck me that of the top 10 I have read exactly none of them. Here’s the Top 10 when I looked at it this morning, along with my thoughts as I visit for the first time:

Engadget: A tech blog with news on the latest gadgets, gizmos and tech news. Rather a lot going on, on the front page, with dozens of outgoing links to other blogs on the Weblogs Inc network. First impression: Cluttered.

Boing-Boing: A completely random blog/magazine with no apparent focus on any one thing (nothing wrong with that). Dozens of posts on the front page, hemmed in tightly by what I assume are ads. First impression: Fluid width design anyone?

Gizmodo: It calls itself the gadgets weblog, and appears to be just that. Nice clean design, good use of images,  sensible number of posts, uncluttered. First impression: I like it.

TechCrunch: A blog that concentrates on the latest  internet products and companies. A clear WordPress blog with only 6 posts on the front page (which encourages you to read further) and some interesting articles with news of a new WP plugin that I like the look of. You would think he’d keep his version of WordPress up to date though… First impression: Green! But I think I’ll subscribe.

The Huffington Post: Unsurprisingly laid out like a newspaper, the blog is tucked into a narrow column, although it does exist in it’s own right on another page. News and opinion on any topic you care to mention. First impression: I hate the homepage layout-it may work on paper, but not on my screen.

Lifehacker: Recommends the software, downloads etc. that help to make you more productive. A relief on the eyes after the Huffington Post, and an engagingly written, interesting blog. First impression: The blocks of ads overlaps the sidebar. First thing I noticed I’m afraid.

Ars Technica:Everything technology related, with articles on IT, gaming, internet and related law. A little cluttered, with few images and the right ’sidebar’ is way too intrusive for my tastes. First impression: Is this on Blogspot? (Sorry, it’s the template).

PostSecret: People write a secret of theirs onto a postcard and mail it to the blogger, who posts it up. The most drab template you can imagine, on Blogspot of all things and yet utterly compelling. Unequivocal proof that content is what counts, and a couple of blogs further up the list could learn from letting the content of the posts speak for itself. First impression: Wow.

Daily Kos: Hard to sum up in a few words, but comes across as very personal given the number of different contributors. A political blog very firmly centered on the US, it is nevertheless an interesting read. A clean simple layout, which allows you to concentrate on what’s been written. First impression: Simple, and straight to the point.

Michelle Malkin: Very little actual writing, just an awful lot of cutting and pasting. Probably appeals to the opposite camp to Daily Kos, I should imagine they lob dead woodchucks at each other over the Technorati fence. First impression: Blockquotes ahoy!

I suppose you’ll be wanting a point now?

Simply this; there’s very little outrageously special about any of the blogs on the list above: Probably only PostSecret is anything outside of the ordinary, but it’s effectively written by the people posting the cards. There is absolutely no reason why your blog couldn’t be on this list one day.

Of these I’ll probably only be subscribing to one, maybe two of the blogs. Five of them I almost certainly won’t visit again. For those of you starting out, or feeling depressed at a lack of progress, keep going: longevity is almost as important as quality in the cases of some of these blogs - I know that I read better blogs daily from people who have yet to reach this level of linkage.

One other thing I noticed whilst going through these, is how some of the ‘absolutes’ of blogging that get beaten into you when you start simply don’t apply: Tell me what niche Boing-Boing sticks rigidly to? Uncluttered layouts? Prominent RSS icons? No, be true to yourself, visit and participate in other blogs, and you’ll get the level of success you deserve.

Which is why I’ll probably still be plowing this lonely furrow years from now ;-)

The only Top 100 blog I read with any regularity is No.57, The Dilbert Blog. How about you? Do you read any of the Top 10 on a regular basis?

(Source: twitter.com)